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When I Am Thankful for My Body (Instead of Hating It)

Today I have the privilege of guest blogging for Lily Dunn over at Such Small Hands. Lily is a teacher, writer, blogger, traveler, and fellow faith-wrestler. Right now she teaches English in Daegu, South Korea, but despite the distance we have become fast friends over the internet, and we hope to meet in person sometime soon! She has guest posted here before with the post Where I Found God: In Words. Today I am taking part of her Thankful Thursdays series, where I write about finding a way to be thankful for my body. 

Here’s an excerpt:

You might think this is an inappropriate thing to be thankful for. But as a woman, I believe I’ve been taught to despise my body. The magazines at the grocery checkout teach me I need to diet, the photos of movie stars teach me I need to be a smaller size, and even my coworkers’ chatter in the teacher’s lounge teaches me I need to exercise more. We live in a world where only certain body types are praised, and mine is not one of them.

My husband and I were talking before bed the other night. “It makes me unhappy when I tell you you’re beautiful and you don’t believe it,” he told me. I tried to hold them back, but the tears came anyway.

Seventh grade: I have been living in Bangkok for a year and am applying to a new school. When I arrive at the uniform store, a Thai woman takes her yellow measuring tape and winds it around my hips. “So fat!” she exclaims. It doesn’t matter that as an American I am simply taller and bigger than most Thais (even the men). Her words scar. My body disappoints.

High school senior trip: My friend Denny and I stand shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the hotel room mirror in our bathing suits. We compare our bodies, inspecting the curves of our hips, turning sideways to see how far our stomachs stick out. “Who’s bigger?” I ask. “I think we’re the same,” she says. She’s Bulgarian; I’m American. We are the biggest girls in our grade.

My wedding day, 15 years ago: 128 pounds. Skinny arms that boast a bit of a farmer’s tan. I never considered trying to fix that. Hair: short, streaked with highlights, impossible curls. Size 8. I wear a fitted, straight wedding dress with a mandarin collar. The pearl-covered dress fits beautifully over my hips.

Today: I step on the scale before getting into the shower. 156.5. At the doctor’s office a couple of weeks ago, his scale said 158. “Losing ten pounds might help your heartburn issues,” he told me. I sigh and turn the water on. After showering and drying off, I inspect myself in the mirror.

 

Click over to Such Small Hands to read more! And please consider following Lily’s blog – she posts fun and thoughtful content regularly and is one of my faves! And she’s kinda famous for this post at Relevant Magazine.

 

 

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2 comments

  1. I’ve had similar struggles my whole life. Even now, at age 64. I blame the culture for much of this, as you mention. When I was running an aerobic dance business in the 1980s I got down to 115 pounds. You’d think I would have been thrilled, but I still thought my thighs were fat and I wouldn’t eat on days I couldn’t exercise. Today I’d give anything to be that small again. But would I finally love my body? I have an 80-something-year-old neighbor who is very slim. I asked her once if she ever had issues with her weight. She talked about how she loves her body–she loves the way her hip bones feel (I miss mine, but I know what she means!) and the way her body still serves her at this late age. She eats sensibly and walks and does yoga. And she is full of joy.

    For some of us it’s a life-long journey, but I hope you and I both come into a happier place with our bodies sooner rather than later!

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